The role of ICT in office work breaks

Anya Skatova, Ben Bedwell, Victoria Shipp, Yitong Huang, Alexandra Young, Tom Rodden, Emma Bertenshaw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

17 Citations (Scopus)


Break activities - deliberate and unexpected - are common throughout the working day, playing an important role in the wellbeing of workers. This paper investigates the role of increasingly pervasive ICT in creating new opportunities for breaks at work, what impact the technology has on management of boundaries at work, and the effects these changes have on personal wellbeing. We present a study of the routines of office-workers, where we used images from participants' work-days to prompt and contextualize interviews with them. Analysis of coded photographs and interview data makes three contributions: an account of ubiquitous ICT creating new forms of micro-breaks, including the opportunity to employ previously wasted time; a description of the ways in which staff increasingly bring "home to work"; and a discussion of the emergence of "screen guilt". We evaluate our findings in relation to previous studies, and leave three research implications and questions for future work in this domain.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2016 - Proceedings, 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450333627
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2016
Event34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016: chi4good - San Jose, United States
Duration: 7 May 201612 May 2016
Conference number: 34


Conference34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016
Abbreviated titleCHI 2016
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose
OtherFor those who are finding out about CHI – pronounced kai – for the first time, CHI is a place to see, discuss and learn about the future of how people interact with technology. At any minute you might experience a new gesture interface for tablets, learn how developing countries use mobile phones for maternal health, play soccer against someone 3000 miles away, or debate the future of online education. You’ll meet with top researchers from universities, corporations and startups from across the world, as well as the brightest student scientists, designers, and researchers. It’s a place to find your community, to talk about your toughest problems, and to find your next job.
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  • Interruptions
  • Wearable camera
  • Wellbeing
  • Work breaks
  • Work-life boundaries
  • Workplace


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